Former legal adviser to former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika has sued the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for claiming that he was being wanted for treason allegations in Malawi.
Ntata wrote BBC on December 3 last year through his lawyers Spring and Co Solicitors, demanding damages, an injunction restraining BBC from publishing same or similar statement in future, remove the said articles, write a corrective article to limit the damage of malicious publication and costs.
According to the statement of claim, Ntata states that on March 13 2013, BBC published an article titled ‘Peter Mutharika and others on Malawi treason charges’ in which it claimed that Ntata was charged in absentia.
“This statement is untrue as our client was not charged with treason and has not been charged with treason to date. He has never received any formal communication from the government and/or the prosecuting authorities regarding treason or any related charges,” wrote Ntata’s lawyers to BBC.
The letter claims that Ntata visited Malawi for six weeks between July and August last year and he moved freely within Malawi and returned to UK without receiving any question from Malawian authorities.
The BBC article, according to Ntata’s lawyers, therefore, portrayed him as a criminal seeking refuge in the UK.
The lawyers also state that on March 13 last year, BBC published another article titled Malawi: Peter Mutharika and coup plotters get bail.
“You stated that 11 others have been charged with him, including (former) Economic Planning minister Goodall Gondwe and former presidential adviser Allan Ntata, who was charged in absentia as he is believed to be in the UK. Our client repeats that the statement relating to him being a ‘coup plotter’ and ‘being charged in absentia’ is untrue,” the statement reads in part.
They also state that BBC had an interview with Ntata on the same allegations, a fact, he denied.